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The Missouri Constitution is the state constitution of the U.S.marker State of Missourimarker. It is the supreme law formulating the law and government of Missouri, subject only to the federal Constitution. The fourth and current Missouri Constitution was adopted in 1945. It provides for three branches of government: legislative (the Missouri General Assembly), executive (the Governor of Missouri), and judicial (the Supreme Court of Missouri). It also sets up local governments in the form of counties and cities.


The first constitution was written in 1820 in only 38 days. In 1865, after the American Civil War, and again in 1875, after reconstruction, a majority of voters ratified a call for a constitutional convention (the Missouri Constitutional Convention and , and Missouri's second and third constitutions were enacted. In the early 1900s, it the Constitution of 1875 was amended to allow for an initiative process to pass constitutional amendments.

In 1942, after an era of political bosses like Tom Pendergast, voters ratified a call for a constitutional convenion brought under the initiative process. The voters further ratified the product of that convention in 1945. Voters rejected calls for a constitutional convention in 1962 and 1982, and the Constitution of 1945 remains Missouri's current constitution. Since 1945, there have been more than 60 amendments to the Constitution. In recent years, some of these have been very controversial and high-profile, such as legalizing commercial gambling in 1993, Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2 (allowing the production of human embryos for stem cell research), Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2 (a defense of marriage amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage), and an English-only amendment in 2008.



The Missouri Constitution Preamble reads:
We the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness, do establish this constitution for the better government of the state.

Articles of the Constitution

The remainder of the constitution consists of thirteen articles.

Article I: Bill of Rights

Article I enumerates the rights of all citizens of the State of Missouri. These include that all political power is vested in and derived from the people, to alter and abolish their constitution and form of government whenever they may deem it necessary to their safety and happiness, the inherent rights “all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry,” the definition of treason, the right to trial by jury, that marriage in the State of Missouri is defined as being between a man and a woman, and many others.

Remaining Articles

  • Article II - The Distribution of Powers
  • Article III - Legislative Department
  • Article IV - Executive Department
  • Article V - Judicial Department
  • Article VI - Local Government
  • Article VII - Public Officers
  • Article VIII - Suffrage and Elections
  • Article IX - Education
  • Article X - Taxation
  • Article XI - Corporations
  • Article XII - Amending the Constitution
  • Article XIII - Public Employees

See also

External links


  1. Chief Justice Michael A. Wolfe, "Law Matters: A Celebration of Two Constitutions", Supreme Court of Missouri, September 9, 2005
  2. Mo. Const. Preamble

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